Weekend greetings, Darlings!

Aubree Holmes back with another round of Saturday recipes—this time, unconventionally festive holiday side dishes that will make a beautiful occasion of feeding all kinds of friends and family with different dietary needs. These are lovely recipes to make for both holiday parties and for hosting and eating at home with our kindreds. One way to show our kindness and love during the holidays is to offer delicious and convivial options that everyone can eat without feeling like they’re missing out. 

The wonderful thing about the two side dishes I’m presenting today is that both can be eaten as a full meal, as I often do. For those of us who struggle to get enough healthy and delicious sustenance during the holidays, these side dishes are hearty enough to eat on their own. A delightful addition to any holiday spread, they highlight the wintertime bounty on display this time of year at most farmer’s markets throughout the country. 

If that wasn’t introduction enough, let me now present you with…drumroll…

Kabocha Squash with Blood Oranges, Pistachios & Creamy Turmeric Dressing, and Roasted Grape & Butternut Squash Salad!

These seasonal beauties are a glorious alternative to many of the grain-heavy side dishes we find on the traditional holiday table. For those of us with sensitive digestive systems or other health issues, we can avoid a lot of inflammation by minimizing grains and gluten. In addition to gluten which is found primarily in wheat, common grains to consider limiting include corn and rice—all omnipresent at the holidays. Both my Kabocha Squash with Blood Oranges, Pistachios & Creamy Turmeric Dressing as well as my Roasted Grape & Butternut Squash Salad are delicious grain-free choices that will make it easy to “eat the rainbow” and keep energy levels high!

If I haven’t sufficiently persuaded you on the merits of these unconventionally festive holiday sides, be reminded that when you cook with clean ingredients, you can still cook with intrigue and excitement. 

Both these recipes below are my attempt to offer super fresh and fun alternatives to more traditional holiday ingredients and with unexpected composition—all for the love of cooking. 

As always, please message me on Instagram @aubreeholmes and let me know how you are enjoying these recipes. And sign up for my newsletter at www.aubreeholmes.com for more inspiration into the new year!

Warmest holiday greetings,


Kabocha Squash with Blood Oranges, Pistachios & Creamy Turmeric Dressing

1 kabocha squash 

3 tablespoons avocado oil or melted ghee

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1 blood orange, peeled and sliced

1/4 cup pistachios, toasted

Flaky sea salt

Creamy Turmeric Dressing (recipe below)


Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Cut each squash half lengthwise into ½”wedges. Place the squash slices on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and toss with avocado oil, salt and cardamom to coat evenly. Arrange the slices evenly spaced on the baking sheet. Place in the oven to roast until fork-tender, about 40 minutes, flipping each slice halfway through to ensure both sides are evenly caramelized. 

Arrange the squash on a serving platter. Top with blood orange slices, toasted pistachios and a bit of flaky sea salt. Drizzle with Creamy Turmeric Dressing, saving some in a small bowl for serving. Serve right away.

NOTE: I prefer to leave the skin on for this roasted squash dish for added nutrients and color. If you can’t get your hands on a kabocha squash, feel free to substitute this with an acorn squash and it will be equally delicious.


For the Creaming Turmeric Dressing

1 cup plain non-dairy yogurt, unsweetened

1/4 cup raw local honey

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Keep refrigerated in a sealed container until serving.


Roasted Grape & Butternut Squash Salad with Maple Lemon Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons ghee or avocado oil, divided

1 large bunch of black grapes

1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt, divided

1 1/2 cups butternut squash, chopped into ¼” cubes

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

5 ounces baby kale

1 asian pear, thinly sliced

1/2 cup crumbled sheep’s feta cheese, optional

Maple Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe below)


Preheat oven to 450F.

On a lined baking sheet, arrange grapes and coat with 1 tablespoon of ghee and ½ teaspoon salt. Place in the oven to roast until wilted, about 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pan or cast iron skillet set over medium-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of ghee. Add the butternut squash and ½ teaspoon of salt. Let cook, stirring occasionally until softened with edges beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Remove the squash from the pan and set aside. 

To the same pan set over medium heat, add the chopped walnuts and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Toast the walnuts, stirring to ensure they do not burn,  3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat to cool slightly.

On a large serving platter, arrange the baby kale leaves and top with the sliced asian pear, roasted grapes, butternut squash and walnuts.  Serve right away with Maple Lemon Vinaigrette.


For the Maple Lemon Vinaigrette

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1 small shallot, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed jar for up to 1 week.

All images via Carla Choy

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